Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! A Christmas Letter for 2012


It has really been years since I wrote a Christmas letter. After a while it seems like there is no way to catch up so how do you even start? Instead of catching up I’ll just tell you how we are right now and send you our love!  Where I come from that ‘dawg’ will hunt.

Jimmy has become a fine carpenter. He started out "pushin a broom in an 8x12 4 bit room" when we first came to the south. He has progressed to finish work and has a partner and they keep each other entertained with dumb jokes and manage to make an income. It’s amazing really. They even look alike. If I had planned this letter this is where I would post a little picture of the two of them and center it in the middle of the page. However this is not planned, in fact this is late because it is December 21st ( just in case we had the end of the world?--ONLY THE FATHER KNOWS!) and I haven’t even addressed the first envelope, so no picture. Just imagine if Jimmy had a brother who looked like him, and talked like him and made jokes like him; sometimes worse! That would be Don, Jim’s southern best friend. 

I have not been employed which embarrasses me but it’s unavoidable. Years of steroids for asthma took their toll and I have had to pay my dues with orthopedic issues; nuff said. BUT the good news is you can’t keep a good girl down or a hyper one either so I manage to keep busy and volunteer my time. It seems God gives me an assignment every day of my life. I might not have a plan but I will have a job to do before the day is done. I have been teaching a ladies Life  Group class which is the new terminology for Sunday school. It is multigenerational and the women have named our class the MsFits, if you need a home you’ll fit in with us. We have a diverse group of age, race, occupation, life situation, and God blends us into a cohesive and loving group.  These ladies are the highlight of my week and it is my humble joy to lead them. God shows up big for all of us faithfully every Sunday in spite of the teacher.  

Through some friends of ours that we met when we first came to MS I have started being involved in an inner city ministry downtown called We Will Go  And this ministry has stolen and broken my heart.   It is amazing to see what God has accomplished with one couple who would say yes to Him and do the unthinkable; move their little family into the heart of the ghetto. Seven years later there are two camps many renovated little houses, a pavilion for church, a food ministry, clothing ministry, mission’s bases overseas and many lives transformed by Jesus. Former drug lords are now serving others and travelling overseas to share their own story of what Jesus can do to transform a life! The whole thing has me shoutin glory to God or on my face having a snot slinging cry. God has placed a call on my life to this ministry and you can pray for Jimmy and me to be united in this. God’s will be done!

Our kids are all alive praise God. They are making their way in the world. They are old enough to write their own Christmas letters and share their own stories. What we get are photo cards which I love and they stay on my refrigerator all year being changed when the new ones come. Now you know how often I wipe down my refrigerator door.  Oh well, when my life is over it really isn’t going to make a hill of beans difference how clean the house was.

Jimmy and I have been seriously discussing downsizing.  We didn’t plant a garden this year. The zinnias came up on their own. In fact between perennials and annuals that reseed themselves the garden happens by itself but still needs weeding and watering.  This yard seems bigger every year and so does the house and the amount of energy it takes to keep it up is more than either of us want to give.  I have really lost the desire to have a lot of stuff and if most of my things hadn’t come from my family I think I’d have one big garage sale. This will work itself out over time and hopefully this year!  We’d like to sell in the spring, when we can sell the garden with its nice house.

Kayla is home for Christmas and we haven’t seen her for 3 years and we are so glad. There aren’t words really for how we feel to have her home!  Heather is our joy she is awesome. Jen and Lindsey and David have become good southerners and Jennifer has been so supportive of me and such a loving daughter. I can never thank her enough.

Jimmy’s batch is all good! We have such cute little grandchildren out in California it is a crying shame that we are separated. We can’t afford to go back so it would be over the moon cool if they all got the bug to live cheap and come our way. We could sure make somebody a good deal on our house DEREK !  Derek and Jamie go to our old church in Felton and live in the neighborhood we left behind. How is that for déjà vu?  Brandon and Mary bought (AMAZING) a house in California and have two gorgeous children together and her son Chris. Jamie is in the same place, with his faithful wife and man-cub of a son Austin at 16 is GROWN!

Shaunaus is out here near us and works all the time and if she is not working she is cooking something wonderful. She is an undiscovered chef. Her latest toy is a smoker. There is no telling what she will come up with. I just want to eat it.

My good friends moved to Felton and their son Conrad is going to Belhaven because of my blog. How is that for a small world? Meredith came to visit and I just couldn’t get enough of her. I love that girl! It is awesome how friendships made long ago grow and deepen and just get better. Distance can’t erase love. Time can’t erase love. In fact nothing can erase love, especially the love that God has given to us through Jesus. It is the love of God that binds us together. This Christmas I have been reflecting on how truly humbling it was for the God of the universe to consider his position nothing, and let it completely go. To be born as a helpless baby feeling hunger, needing everything and grow up to become a man; amazing. We tend to think of Jesus as half man half God but he was fully 100% man, and fully 100% God.  Part of his humanity though was growing by faith into the full realization of who he was and His purpose here. I really don’t think that Jesus had the master plan of the universe in his mind as a two year old. When you think about it like that, how it wasn’t an automatic ace in the hole, it’s really meaningful to read;  that he was tempted in every way just as we are and yet without sin.

(Sin…ewww did she really say that in her Christmas letter?) Yeah I did because I want you to know what “sin” means.  It’s simple, it means to miss the mark. If you are an archer and you don’t hit the bull’s-eye.  The target is holiness and the standard is set by God. Perfect holiness is the only A game and if you miss the target even once you lose.

How amazing is it that God set the standard and then made a way to give you a perfect game?

Jesus stepped in and hit the standard in perfection and then paid the penalty for all of our mistakes. Justice requires judgment and penalty. If everyone that was ever sentenced got off Scott free why would we even have a justice system? We have an inner compass that screams for justice. We want payment for wrongs especially other peoples. It’s harder when we take a look within. When we do look and we do remember, and we do regret, that is when Jesus steps in and says,” I took the judgment for that, I did your time.”  Jesus took it for everything, and everyone that is willing to receive it. What hurts me is that even if you don’t want it, he still took it. Every lash of the whip, every beard hair ripped out. In Isaiah it says he was marred beyond human recognition. He had to be God to survive to make it to the cross. He had to be God not to explode like a nuclear bomb with all that was heaped on him.  

He was born to die, placed in a stone manger in a miniature version of his future tomb that we may truly live and never die.  This Christmas it is our prayer that this Jesus who we love to serve and live to love, is the Lord in your heart and life.  It is the greatest news we have ever heard and the hope in our hearts.

 It doesn’t matter to me what is politically correct!  In Colombia I learned from the people that whatever is the most important thing going on in your life; that is what you talk about FIRST. Your first conversation shows the highest priority in your life. We can learn from that. I learned from that. This Christmas I am sharing with you the highest priority in my life, Jesus. He took my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. He gave me a future and a hope.  He gave me peace.  I hope with all my heart you are celebrating his birth, life, death, resurrection and peace too. 


Love Karen and Jimmy


Kat said...

What a wonderful Christmas letter! It touches on everything going on in your life and also what is most important to you, as it should be.

Hope you and yours have a very blessed Christmas!

Bluebird49 said...

It's a wonderful Christmas letter, Karen--the best one I got this year! The message needs to be spread all over the world, and you are doing your part, for sure!
I'm so glad you have your family back with you--I knew you would--I prayed for it, and I'm sure many others did...and God's word doesn't return void!
Sounds like things are going so well for youall, and for that, I am so thankful! Love, Trudy